Friday, 28 October 2016
Rembrandt paints Bathsheba in 1654 in a spirit of intimacy. Her face reflects the difficulty of the situation - forced to submit to the king's will, she feels the guilt of betraying her husband Uriah.
Leonard Cohen sings about her.
“You saw her bathing on the roof,Her beauty and the moonlight and overthrew you.”
So the king is watching her, spying on her at her bath. Is Bathsheba an exhibitionist? Does she sense that she is being watched?
Other women in the bible, are well defined. Holy virgin, Mary, mother of Jesus, meek and obedient; the reformed whore, Mary Magdalene, whirling in incense and sulphur; there is Jezebel steeped in depravity; and there is Ruth, with her wonderful quality of loyalty. Even Lot’s daughters and their horrible seduction of their father, (which makes me cringe whenever I read it) you can argue that their crime is justified.
As for Bathsheba, I am still having difficult in framing her -- I’d appreciate any ideas that any of you may have. Is she just a cipher -- an example of how even great men can be tempted? Or is she something more?
For a Feminist approach to Bathsheba click here